Jamaica

Rabbi Kaplan was the first rabbi to lead the Jamaican Jewish community in 33 years, from 2011 until 2015. Jamaica is an exciting island country located about 90 miles south of Cuba and 119 miles west of Hispaniola. He lived in Kingston--first in Norbrook and then in Bull Bay. Dana found it a wonderful experience to live in such a vibrant Caribbean society while trying to develop an indigenous form of Jamaican Judaism that could both reflect the various historical traditions as well as respond to contemporary Jamaican culture. He worked to start several exciting initiatives that drew in considerable numbers of people interested in exploring Jewish spirituality--both those who had been affiliated with Shaare Shalom Synagogue in downtown Kingston and those who were exploring Judaism for the first time.

We Endorse the Attitude of ‘Joy and Encouragement’: Challenges to Conversion Policy in Jamaica in the Early 21st Century,” CCAR Journal, Summer 2020.

"The Meaning of Passover for Jamaicans," The Gleamer, April 14, 2017.

“Non-marital Sex in Reform Judaism: Reconciling Theory with Reality,” with Karen Carpenter, Sexuality & Culture, December 2014.

 

“Questioning Sexuality in Reform Caribbean Judaism: Two Perspectives,” with Karen Carpenter, The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality, edited by Lisa Grushcow, CCAR Press, 2014.

 

“Wanted: A Distinctly Jamaican Judaism,” Washington Post, December 3, 2013.

 

“In Jamaica, Hanukkah Means Freedom,” Huffington Post, November 25, 2013.

 

“On Prayer: Preserving Tradition While Progressing Spiritually,” Huffington Post, July 31, 2013.

 

“Hanukkah - the other December holiday,” Jamaica Observer, December 15, 2012.

 

“What Hanukkah means for Jamaicans,” The Gleaner, December 5, 2012.

 

“A Synagogue Drawn in the Sand,” Haaretz, August 10, 2012.

 

“Securing Our Future Through Historic Jewish Communities,” The Jewish Press, May 31, 2012.

“Becoming Jamaica's Rabbi,” Jerusalem Post Magazine, May 3, 2012.

“Becoming Jamaica's Rabbi: Looking Back and Moving Forward,” Huffington Post, April 20, 2012.

“The Meaning of the Holocaust for Jamaicans,” The Gleaner, April 19, 2012.

“A Rabbi’s View on Sabbath,” The Gleaner, March 21, 2011.

TV interview